Prophetic Disability: Divine Sovereignty and Human Bodies in the Hebrew Bible (Studies in Religion) (Hardcover)

Prophetic Disability: Divine Sovereignty and Human Bodies in the Hebrew Bible (Studies in Religion) By Sarah J. Melcher Cover Image


At first glance it may seem that the Hebrew prophets offer little resolution on contemporary concerns of inclusivity and defense for persons deemed "other." Bound by their time and culture, the prophets' message seems obscure and irrelevant. However, on closer look, we see that the prophets offer a call to justice for those who are wrongly oppressed and marginalized, those on the fringes of society--the downcast and the disabled.

In Prophetic Disability, Sarah Melcher opens our eyes to the prophetic corpus' ongoing theological relevance in the first book-length treatment of disability in the Bible's prophetic literature. Melcher takes a deep exegetical dive into Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve, analyzing passages that mention disability explicitly and those that offer complementary relevance. With careful and detailed exegetical work, she shows us the profound relationship between disability and the sovereignty of God, the latter being the dominant theme shaping all other motifs in the prophets. Influenced by the prominent work of Tom Shakespeare's critical-realist approach to disability studies, she sets forth her own method in conversation with rhetorical and literary criticism. Melcher's engagement with these ancient texts is informed throughout by a respect for the context and circumstances that generated the texts relevant to disability, as well as a sensitivity to the lived experiences of people with disabilities.

To that end, Prophetic Disability maintains the central theme from Shakespeare: that labels describe but do not "constitute" disease. Who we are is a reality beyond our distinct experience with disability and impairment. What emerges from Melcher's analysis are ways in which the theological implications arising from the prophetic corpus might guide us toward more ethical practice in our encounters with disabilities.

About the Author

Sarah J. Melcher is Professor Emerita of Hebrew Scriptures at Xavier University.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781481310246
ISBN-10: 1481310240
Publisher: Baylor University Press
Publication Date: October 1st, 2022
Pages: 145
Language: English
Series: Studies in Religion